John 16:17-33

The cross completely changes our orientation to this world and this life. 

Jesus tells the disciples that they will mourn when the rest of the world rejoices (John 16:20).  But He also promises that there will come a time when they will rejoice again, and there will be no end to it (John 16:22).

On this side of the cross we understand what He meant, though the disciples clearly could not comprehend it.  But our understanding does not always equate to belief.

We are Easter people – people who live in light of the cross and the resurrection.  Unlike the disciples on the night before Christ died, we know that the battle has been won.  

“There is no longer any sacrifice for sin,” even though we must wait for the consummation of the Kingdom ( Hebrews 10:18 ).

But the cross means that we are not supposed to wait as those who have no hope (I Thess. 4:13).  I don’t believe that means our lives are always happy.  I don’t believe it means we are to disregard ours or anyone else’s suffering.  It means we know what’s beyond all of this.  And it makes us capable of joy when the rest of the world groans in fear, confusion, and endless dissatisfaction.

The crowds rejoiced when Barabbas was freed and Jesus was sent to die (Matt. 27:20-26).  The teachers of the law thought they had gotten rid of someone who threatened their authority.  They thought everything could go back to the way it was before Jesus appeared.  They didn’t realize it would never be the same – to the praise and glory of God.

You see, we always look at the surface, and our reactions are based on what we see.  The world rejoiced at the sight of Jesus hanging on the cross.  The disciples were filled with grief. 

But neither group understood what we know.

And yet do we live with hope?  Are our eyes set beyond the horizon of today, anticipating what we have been promised for eternity?  Do we believe Jesus’ words that “no one will take away our joy” (John 16:22)? 

May it be so in our lives.  May our grief in this life demonstrate our longing for the next.  And may our joy in this life multiply with the knowledge that there is life beyond the grave.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)